Freddy Frank

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Theodore Frank was Joe's stepfather. Frederica Langerman married Theodore Frank on 1945 April 28 in Manhattan, license 9885.

Freddy v. Teddy:

Joe refers to his stepfather as 'Freddy'. When he introduces himself in The Best (about 36 minutes in), he calls himself 'Teddy Frank'; Joe's mother, discussing her husband's medical care with Joe in The Road To Calvary, calls him 'Teddy' (about 46 minutes in).

Quoth the LA Weekly article 'Joe Frank is Off the Air':

'his father, Meyer Langerman, dying when Joe was 5 years old. Joe wasn't told about it until days later. Not wanting to upset her son before major surgery - Frank was born with clubfeet - his mother, Fritzi, told Joe that his father was away in Boston on business. He didn't learn the truth until he got home. When Fritzi remarried to Freddy Frank a year later'

Note that Meyer Langerman died on 1943 October 8, thus 1.5 years, 2 calendar years, elapsed before the marriage.

I find no record of him under the name Freddy, nor evidence of a middle name.


The only Theodore Frank that has the right birth date is the one born on 1906 April 24.

He appears in the censuses of 1910, 1930, and 1940 as the son of Charles and Jennie (or Jenny) Frank. In 1910 they are born in Russia, in 1930 in Poland, in 1940 in New York (father) and Germany (mother). In 1910 some of Poland was in the Russian empire; in 1930 Poland was independent; Germany annexed Poland in 1939 - so almost all of these can be correct. The ages and names match. Theodore has a sister and brother: Dora, 5 years older; Alexander, 3 years older. Theodore is still living with his parents in 1940. The 1920 census seems to have missed them.

He was drafted 1942 July 28, had '3 years of college', worked as 'Salesmen and sales agents, except to consumers', was single and childless, served as private in the signal corps.

Theodore Frank and Frederica Langerman arrived on 1948 May 27 on the SS America from Le Havre; he's 42, she's 37 (corrected from 38 by hand).

In the 1949 phone directory, he lived at 300 Central Park West,[1] the same address as Ben & Frieda Passweg, Frederica's brother and his wife.

He died on 1995 January 3 or 4, last residence Lake Worth, Florida (where 'The Fountains' of A Pact With God/A Death In The Family is set). Frederica is in the directories of Lake Worth in 2008 and 2009. Perhaps Joe moved her to Santa Monica at the end of her life; perhaps she lived in Santa Monica earlier but decided to go back to Florida.

Karma Memories:

Joe begins this show with an account of his mother taking a train to South Carolina to see Freddy, says that they married a year after his father died. (This story includes her having sex with a soldier she met on the train. Joe says she told it to him 10 years ago, when she was 80: this matches the facts: the show was made in 2000, his mother was born in 1910.)

Joe says, 'So my brother Ben, who'd taken over the family business upon my father's death, brought Freddy in.' Ben was Joe's uncle, his mother's brother.[2]

The song Freddy sings after Joe catches him drinking whisky from the bottle is 'My defenses are down' from Annie get your gun.

Freddy Frank appeared in the following programs:

Program Air date Series Cast
The Best 1992 Work In Progress Larry Block, Friederike Frank, Freddy Frank, Joe Frank


  1. nice!
  2. Even if Joe had had an older brother he'd have been no more than 16 then.